To formulate a simplified yet effective mechanism for students' grievance redressal, the UGC has brought out the University Grants Commission (Redressal of Grievances of Students) Regulations, 2023. These regulations have been notified in supersession of the University Grants Commission (Redress of Grievances of Students) Regulations, 2019.
The new regulations provide for the establishment of Students' Grievances Redressal Committee (SGRC) by all higher educational institutions and for the appointment of Ombudsperson(s) at the university level. The regulations have been revised in the light of the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020.
According to UGC Chairman M. Jagadesh Kumar, the new regulations provide an additional forum for redressal of complaints against caste-based discrimination. These regulations do not replace the other regulations and guidelines issued by the UGC from time to time to ensure that no student is discriminated on the basis of caste, creed, religion, language, ethnicity, gender or disabilities.
The regulations of 2019 also provided that grievances related to complaints of alleged discrimination of students from the Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, Other Backward Classes, minorities or persons with disabilities will be entrained by the grievance committees and ombudspersons. This provision has been retained in the regulations of 2023, Kumar said.
The scheme for Equal Opportunity Cell (EOC) for universities and colleges was started in 2012 and is still in operation. As many as 1,818 EOCs have been established in the universities and colleges so far.
Kumar said that the UGC has issued instructions to the universities from time to time for prevention of caste-based discrimination. The universities are also required to report to the UGC on the activity monitoring portal regarding action taken by them to prevent caste-based discrimination, he added.
According to UGC officials, the new regulations have been made inclusive by providing representation to women, SC, ST, and OBC members in the grievance committees, which was not provided in the previous regulations.